Minimalistic font sets -- How?

I have apps that pull up gazillions of fonts that I have no interest to ever use. As best I can tell, I am locked in to selections that Apple designates I must have (e.g. Bangla MN, Big Caslon, …).

I want to go minimalistic on my font sets. I long for the days when we worked with the seven standard PS or the fourteen extended PS font sets and we were happy as clams (excepting LaTeX, where we had to translate CM sets).

What are my options if any?


My favourite font.

Open Font Book and disable all the fonts you do not want. (Do not remove – see post below this one.)

As @anon41602260 noted you can disable fonts you don’t want in Font Book. FB shouldn’t allow you do harm by disabling fonts from view. I wouldn’t delete anything though.

Some of the fonts in /System/Library/Fonts, known generally as the “system fonts,” are essential to the operating system because it uses them for menus, dialogs, and other system-level things; deleting one of the essentials can render your Mac so helpless that it won’t even start up, and you’d need administrator access to add fonts to or delete them from this location. Be careful if you try this.

There are likely fonts installed in macOS you don’t and won’t use, but I generally find it’s better safe than sorry to let be fonts installed by the system.

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Re: system fonts – apparently Catalina is protecting and preventing disablement and removal of fonts in /System/Library/Fonts.

Catalina installs fonts in these folders on your Mac:

  • The Library folder in your System folder: /System/Library/Fonts. These fonts are required by your Mac and can’t be disabled in Font Book.

What I ended up doing this:

  • Moved fonts that I did not want from System/Library/Fonts to ~/Library/Fonts.
  • Deleted the fonts from System/Library/Fonts that I had moved.
  • Used Font Book to disable the fonts that I had moved.

Some fonts are not possible to move with this method.

Thanks @bowline and @anon41602260 for the insights.


FYI there are some good alternative font managers out there that will activate/deactivate fonts without your needing to manually move anything. FontBase is freemium, and the Pro unlock ($3/month, or $29/yr) lets you create collections, access/activate free Google fonts (hundreds of them), and do a lot more (that I don’t think you need). The free app by itself is great though.

Maybe the nicest Mac-like app that does font previewing/collecting/comparing/managment is Typeface 2 ($20 in the MAS or included in SetApp).


I tried FontBase. It crashed on my system (Mojave).

Typeface appears to be more appealing.